Chapter 9: Aftermath (it ain’t pretty)

Tales of The Plumber 8…

When Kodek opened his eyes it only took him a few seconds to realize he was lying in a hospital bed. Unfortunately, the first face he saw belonged to Larry the Brain.

Kodek opened his dry mouth and croaked out, “Water…” Larry reached over to the side-table that doubled as Kodek’s dinner tray and handed him the plastic cup of stale water, which Kodek had to sip through a straw.

When he was finished he placed the cup back on the tray-table beside him and croaked out, “Asshole.”

Larry the Brain smiled. “Hey, man, that wasn’t me who smashed you right off the road. No, sir, that was some pissed-off chick. What’d you do to her anyway?”

What chick?”

Anna,” Larry said, though he seemed more interested in the possible hospital dust under his fingernails now instead of what happened to Kodek.

The yellow waitress?”

That’s racist, Kodek.”

I mean…” He reached for the water again before finished. He felt like he was trying to explain things from the bottom of a swimming pool filled with jello. “waitress wearing a yellow outfit.”

No,” Larry the Brain said, “That yellow waitress wasn’t Anna. She was wearing Anna’s nametag-”

How did you know?”

I get sent all the photos, Kodek. Data entry for The Corporation. Anyway, the waitress’ name is Lizzy. Anna was the cook. Otherwise known as Shotgun Mary.”

That her code name?”

No, that’s her restaurant name.”

How the fuck do you know all this?” Kodek was squinting his eyes now, too much light.

I’m the Brain. That’s my job.”

So what happened to me?”

Well, shut up and I’ll tell ya.”

The BMW slammed into the passenger side of Kodek’s car, sending it spinning out of control and off the edge of the crossroads, slamming into a tree and erupting in fire.

Anna had to kick the door of the BMW from the inside to get it open, but otherwise she appeared to be fine. She grabbed her two 9-millimeter pistols off the floor from the front of the passenger seat and walked (still in her high heels) over to Kodek’s burning vehicle.

Inside his car, Kodek glanced over at the portable battery-operated tape deck on the passenger seat as “Back in the Saddle” began to warble up. Fuck, Kodek thought, I hope that’s the batteries doing that and not the tape getting eaten. I just got that fucking tape deck-

And then the windshield was being smashed in, and the angel/devil was standing on the hood in high heel and engine flames, two automatic pistols in her hands… and Kodek was actually afraid for his life.

Anna had shot out the windshield, then shot a hole in the front air bags, but she didn’t bother kicking the broken shards from the bottom edge of the windshield frame before tucking the guns in her belt and gripping Kodek by the shoulders, yanking him out through the window and dragging him through the flames, all the while praying that her heels weren’t going to punch through the twisted metal of the hood of the car.

She dropped Kodek on the ground and dragged him back to the cross roads before his car exploded. She even got a piece of hot shrapnel through her upper left shoulder for her troubles, and it stung like a sunuvabitch.

I’m going to kill her,” Kodek said.

You’re not going to do shit to her, Kodek,” Larry the Brain explained.

Yeah? Why the hell not?”

‘Cause she’s working for your boss and mine.”

She’s working for Morimoto?”

Yeah.”

Fuck.” Kodek thought he might be getting a migraine. “There any fucking Asprin here?”

Brain grabbed the packet of pills form the tray-table and dropped it into Kodek’s lap. “Besides,” he said, “She kind of saved your ass. In my book, that means you owe her.”

Anna’s BMW was smashed, front-end in, but not because she’d smashed into Kodek. Because she didn’t smash into Kodek. She smashed into the Russian fucking mobster and the SUV he was driving before HE smashed into Kodek. And now she was marching right up to that SUV with an automatic pistol in each hand.

Too bad Kodek was lying unconscious in the grass behind her, she figured he might’ve liked to watch this. Hell, maybe he’d even root for her, in spite of the fact she’d tried to blow his ass away with a fucking bazooka. But hell, that was over a year ago now. Ancient history. Right now, it was the piece of hot metal stuck in her shoulder that was being the pain in her ass. Fuck, that fucker stung like shit and she was slightly dreading the aftermath of the pistol recoil. Still, what had to be done simply had to be done.

She walked right up to the SUV and cough the big Russian Nikolai off-guard as his airbag had exploded in his face, like literally exploded, it must’ve been faulty because it was hanging our from the middle of the steering wheel like a used condone and the Russian – along with the interior of his car – was covered in white dust. His forehead was bleeding into his eye and he was squinting, his head rocking around like a stunned blind man. Easy for Anna.

She hoisted the pistols and fired repeatedly through the smashed side window of Nikolai’s SUV. All dead now, and she was splattered with his Russian blood. Hot. And she was right, her shoulder was painfully throbbing now.

She put the guns pointing down in the back of her belt and the hot barrels seared her buttocks through her tight leopard-print pants. She didn’t mind. Not much, anyway. She went back to Kodek to make sure he was alright before-

The fucking Russians?”

Well, one Russian,” Larry the Brain explained, “it was Nikolai.”

I thought he was with us!” But Kodek wondered if Nikolai wasn’t still pissed at him…

Fucking mercenaries,” Brain grunted and he stuck his finger in the chocolate pudding on the tray-table and stuck it in his mouth. “Anyway, I’ve got to go.”

What for?”

Busy.”

Doing what?”

I’m writing a short story, if you must know.”

No shit. You were serious about that? The science fiction?”

Yeah, the time-travel.”

Let me know how that works out.”

Sure.”

Wait!”

Brain turned back to the bed Kodek was lying in.

What the hell was up with Nikolai, then? How did he know I was going to be at that intersection?”

Brain shrugged. “I don’t know.”

I thought you knew everything.”

Brain raised his finger. “I never said that. I never did.” And he turned and exited the room.

Shit,” Kodek signed, left in the blaring light and a pounding headache with more questions than answers.

As fucking usual. He wondered if Nikolai somehow, some-fucking-how, had something to do with that fucking right-wing psycho shooting out the back window of his car. Had money changed hands? Brian was right about one thing, Kodek decided. Fucking mercenaries.

He wondered about time travel, and of time being a perception of human consciousness.

Half an hour later, Anna walked in. From the side-view he had of her from his bed, her ass looked hot. Kodek smiled. His mouth was dry.

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